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What Songs Keep You Motivated at Work?


Music can have a powerful impact on mindfulness. Certain songs or genres can be totally distracting or annoying while others set you up to remember why you do what you do as a leader.

Likewise, there are distracting and annoying things about smartphones and there are also very useful things about the devices. One of those is the capacity they give you to carry around a mindfulness playlist in your pocket.  Having one can be very useful when you need some help in refocusing on a more mindful approach to leadership and life.

As an example, there are three songs on my mindfulness playlist that I come back to again and again.

The first is George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. I love its meditative groove and point that nothing, good or bad, lasts forever.  Here’s the last verse and chorus of the song:

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

Another favorite that’s more up tempo and always a source of inspiration for me is John Mellencamp’s Your Life is Now. These are my favorite lines from the song.

Would you teach your children to tell the truth
Would you take the high road if you could choose
Do you believe you’re a victim of a great compromise
‘Cause I believe you could change your mind and change our lives

Your life is now your life is now your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

My third choice would either be the Mozart channel on Pandora or a song called You Get What You Give by the New Radicals. Obviously, the choice depends on the outcome I’m trying to create.  If it’s getting into a productive frame of mind for the day ahead, it’s Mozart. If it’s to rock out and sing out loud in the car by myself to unwind from the day, it’s the New Radicals.

Do you have a mindfulness playlist?  If you do, what are some of your favorite songs on it and why?  If you don’t, what songs would you pick to get one started?

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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